Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Festival of Wrights

"Why is the Wright different from all other Wrights?"
--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, April 30, 2008

April 30, 2008:

April 28, 2008:

Greg Fischer for Congress?

Is this some sort of ploy to get John Yarmuth out of office and we are only now finding out about it? Hat tip: Page credit Page One as well but I made sure to not steal any bandwidth.

The 134th Kentucky Derby Post-Position Draw

1. Cool Coal Man
2. Tale of Ekati
3. Anak Nakal
4. Court Vision
5. Eight Belles
6. Z Fortune
7. Big Truck
8. Visionaire
9. Pyro
10. Colonel John
11. Z Humor
12. Smooth Air
13. Bob Black Jack
14. Monba
15. Adriano
16. Denis of Cork
17. Cowboy Cal
18. Recapturetheglory
19. Gayego
20. Big Brown

Posts 15-20 are in the auxillary gate.

Post positions are now posted after the announcement televised tape-delay today on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. The following horses, in the order of which they were drawn, will be in this weekend's Derby:
Visionaire, Big Truck, Colonel John, Z Fortune, Pyro, Eight Belles, Anak Nakal, Court Vision, Z Humor, Monba, Smooth Air, Adriano, Bob Black Jack, Denis of Cork, Cowboy Cal, Big Brown, Tale of Ekati, Cool Coal Man, Recapturetheglory and Gayego.

Halo Najib, Tomcito, El Gato Malo and Kentucky Bear did not make the final 20.

Wildcats land Dominique Ferguson

Jeff Goodman reports that the Wildcats have an elite prospect committed for the Class of 2010.
Kentucky just got a big-time commitment.

Sophomore big man Dominique Ferguson, a talented and long 6-foot-9 Lawrence North (Ind.) standout, committed to Billy Gillispie and the Wildcats.’s Evan Daniels broke the story earlier tonight.

“I think it’s a program that best fits his style of play and they definitely have family atmosphere,” Ferguson’s father, Deon, told

Ferguson is ranked No. 8 in the Class of 2010 by

The Wildcats already have one 2009 commit, guard G.J. Vilarino, and a pair in the 2010 class – point guard K.C. Miller out of Texas and local standout Dakotah Euton.

However, Daniels isn’t the only one who feels as though Ferguson is heads and shoulders above the previous three.
Happy days are here, inded, for Kentucky fans yet again. Now, this begs to ask, what do we do when Gillispie locks up the entire program for the next five years? It's way too early to be scouting middle and elementary school athletes!

Related articles:
Brett Dawson (C-J)
Jody Demling (C-J)
Sea of Blue

RIP: Ilse Meyer

Louisville lost another survivor of the Shoah this past week and we take the time to mourn the passing of Ilse Meyer, whose death comes in the week leading up to Yom HaShoah. We mourn with her family at this time and offer our condolences.
Meyer died Saturday in Milwaukee, near the home of her son, Dr. Loren Meyer. She had moved there from Louisville just last week to recover from a recent stroke, said Rabbi Robert B. Slosberg of Congregation Adath Jeshurun, where Meyer was an active member.

"She was a giant," Slosberg said. "She had the unique ability to transfer the pain and heartache of her early years into a life of endless giving."

Meyer was buried yesterday at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery in Louisville. She moved to Louisville in 1986 with her husband, Mike, who died in 1998. His family was killed a year later than hers in the same concentration camp.

"She is probably the most popular person in the Jewish community," Slosberg said, not only for her willingness to share her experience with the Holocaust, but for her energy and thoughtfulness -- often remembered in association with her culinary skills.

"I've never met anyone like her," Slosberg said. "... In my 27 years as a rabbi, I've never had people come to the synagogue and hear of a death and just start crying" as they did Saturday when news of Meyer's passing started to spread.

He said her life story was "remarkable, in that she never became bitter."

"Despite losing most of her family in the Holocaust, she took that pain and transformed it into love," Slosberg said.

Eleven million people perished in the Holocaust, including 6 million Jews.

Meyer was about 14 on Kristallnacht, or "the night of broken glass," during which Jewish homes in her village were ransacked, the men were arrested and the synagogue was burned down.

She frequently described the experience to groups as "like a bad dream."

"When that happened, you knew there was no way out," she said.

But Meyer did escape, moving to the United States with her older brother when she was 15, staying with relatives in Wisconsin. Yet her parents and younger sister had to stay behind.

After leaving Germany in 1939, "I never saw them again," Meyer said. She did not return to Germany until 1983, as a visitor.[...]

"When you don't know, you can imagine," Meyer told The Courier-Journal in 2005. "I kept thinking, maybe my sister got away. She was a little girl, she didn't look Jewish, maybe she could hide some place. Then you wonder, were they together? Which one died first? Did they suffer? Where they hungry? Were they cold?

"Now, knowing this, I know they didn't suffer. I know they were uncomfortable in the boxcar, but once they got there, that was it," Meyer said.

Last April, she told a group gathered at Temple Shalom for Yom HaShoah, the Jewish commemoration of the Holocaust: "Wherever I go, I see the faces of those who didn't survive and I hear them say, 'I wanted to live too.' "

Meyer was a tutor for more than two decades at Eliahu Academy until last month, when she became too ill. The school had thrown her a party for her 85th birthday on Feb. 24.
Her life as well as that of Ernie Marx, who left us in the last year, were remembered this past Monday night at the Jewish community's annual Yom HaShoah service.
More than 500 people took part in the city's annual Holocaust memorial service last night, which took on a particularly poignant cast as it came just hours after the funeral for one of Louisville's most prominent Holocaust survivors and educators.

The Yom HaShoah service paid tribute to Ilse Meyer, who died at age 85 on Saturday, as well as to Ernie Marx, who died last July and also was remembered for his efforts to educate young people about the Holocaust by telling his story.

"Most of us do not realize the toll it takes on survivors of the Holocaust to continually tell their stories, and by doing so relive those terrible years, to time after time be asked to recall their suffering and their loss," said Keiron O'Connell, chair of the Yom HaShoah committee.

"I remember Ilse saying to me earlier this year, 'Keiron, I can't do this anymore,' " only to show up at the committee's next meeting to plan more such activities, O'Connell said.

The service was sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation's Community Relations Council, but had an extensive interfaith element. It was hosted by Bellarmine University, a Catholic institution, and music was provided by the choir of Christ Church United Methodist.

Three weeks notice...

Major announcement forthcoming. By forthcoming, we mean you have to wait three more weeks. That's May 21, 2008 for those of you counting.

Keep guessing as to what the announcement is...but I'll neither confirm nor deny it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Derby Festival: Boat Race nearing an end?

Mike Berry first went aboard the Delta Queen in the Great Steamboat Race when he was 8.

Now 47, the CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival has been on either the Delta Queen or the Belle of Louisville in every festival race since.

He tells stories from when he was on board, and before, about passengers on the Belle being charged by their weight -- a dollar a pound -- and the time there were so many people on the Belle it had trouble leaving the dock.

He might remember this year's Great Steamboat Race as the last.

Since the first race in 1963, the Queen and Belle have been the main competitors, with 19 and 22 wins respectively, said Berry. But now the Delta Queen is in danger of losing its exemption to make overnight passenger cruises and thus be unable to participate in races -- unless Congress grants another exemption by November.

While there are other steamboats, the ones that could make the trip are more modern, dating from the late 1900s, not the early 1900s like the Belle and Queen, and in some cases are four times as big and with four times the horsepower, Berry said.

Competing with a more modern steamboat would make it a different race, one requiring handicaps and other concessions, he said. Competing against boats that are not steamboats would mean the end of the longest-held consecutive steamboat race in the country, Berry said.

Whatever route is taken, the race may never be the same. The festival plans to hammer this home today with a series of activities devoted to the Queen. The festival will retire the Golden Antlers, which are presented to the winning boat -- if it does not return.

Still, Belle of Louisville Capt. Mark Doty hopes to nab the trophy. His first and most memorable race was in the early 1980s when he was a deckhand. Back then, he said, the steamboat race was the festival's "big event" and "to hear the cannon go off to start the race and seeing both riverbanks lined with people" was something.

Doty recalled that in 1984 the Belle unloaded about 500 passengers at Cox Park after a bomb threat, only to load 800 or so on again later.

Congressmen want Carter Center stripped of federal money

I agree with them that the Carter Center should lose any federal money after Jimmy Carter decided to use his large ego and meet with terrorists.
Two Republican congressmen introduced legislation that would deny the Carter Center federal dollars.

U.S. Reps. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) introduced the Coordinated American Response to Extreme Radicals Act , or CARTER Act, last week in the wake of former President Jimmy Carter's recent outreach to Hamas.

"America must speak with one voice against our terrorist enemies," Knollenberg said in a statement. "It sends a fundamentally troubling message when an American dignitary is engaged in dialogue with terrorists. My legislation will make sure that taxpayer dollars are not being used to support discussions or negotiations with terrorist groups."

The Zionist Organization of American praised the legislation.

Carter's Atlanta-based center focuses mostly on international development. The former president met with Hamas officials against the advice of the Bush administration. He defended his meetings as his attempt to help bring an end to the violence on the Israel-Gaza Strip border.
The CARTER act has a nice ring to it.

Abbas boycotting any foreign dignitaries if they attend the Israeli birthday celebrations?
The Palestinian Authority threatened to boycott President Bush and foreign dignitaries who attend Israel's Independence Day celebrations.

Unnamed aides to Mahmoud Abbas told Reuters Monday that the P.A. president will consider as "temporarily" persona non grata the dozens of top foreign dignitaries who are expected to visit Israel for its 60th birthday bash next month.

Palestinians describe the 1948 founding of Israel to be their nakba, or "catastrophe," though a U.N. partition plan -- violently rejected by the Arabs at the time -- called for a Palestinian state to be created alongside the Jewish state.

Bush is widely expected to use his mid-May visit to push for progress in peace talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It was not immediately clear how the United States would respond to the prospect of its president being boycotted by Abbas' administration in the West Bank.
Oh...and it appears that Harry Potter, um, I don't know how to say it, may be Jewish...

Pat Riley steps down as Heat coach

But is it really the end of Pat Riley's coaching career?

Chris Sheridan of wonders if Riley will be back.
He often says one thing about his intentions but ends up going in a different direction, so we can't help but take the finality of his farewell address with a grain of salt.

"I'm officially retired. Is that good enough?" Riley replied when asked if he was totally, completely shutting the door on a possible return to coaching, sometime or somewhere down the road.

Then Riley let out one of those nervous chuckles that were a constant throughout his 30-minute news conference, a chuckle that Riley had to let out because even he knows the inherent absurdity of taking anything he says as an absolute.

Riley let out a similar laugh back in early October when I spent a couple days in Miami covering the Heat's training camp. I asked him why he had made the public three-year commitment to continuing as coach, and he explained it was his way of keeping the question of his future from arising at different times over the course of the season.
Here's a timeline of his career.

Riley turned down a football scholarship from Alabama's Bear Bryant to play hoops for Kentucky.

In his three-year varsity career, he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 boards for the Wildcats and won the team's MVP award each season.

Playing for the legendary Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky, Riley's squad was known as Rupp's Runts because no player was taller than 6-5. Riley was 6-4.

As shown in the movie "Glory Road," Riley and the Wildcats lost the 1966 NCAA championship game to Texas Western, which made history as the first team with an all-black starting five to win the NCAA title.

Colts Draft Grades

Yahoo had their AFC Draft grades up. Here's what Yahoo says about my Colts:
Picks: OT Mike Pollak, LB Philip Wheeler, TE Jacob Tamme, LB Marcus Howard, TE Tom Santi, C Steve Justice, RB Mike Hart, WR Pierre Garcon, G Jamey Richard
Positives: Pollak, Tamme and Howard
Negatives: Wheeler
Bottom line: B. OK, any criticism of this draft is a matter of being pretty picky. Colts president Bill Polian is always a step or two ahead of the pack. Last year, he traded away his first pick to get Tony Ugoh, a starting left tackle. This year, he’s looking ahead to keeping the line solid with Pollak, a guy who fits the Colts’ system perfectly. Likewise, Tamme gives the Colts another receiving tight end to work the middle of the field. Wheeler is a little stiff for what the Colts do on defense, but he’s still a solid player. Howard is a great experiment at either LB or DE.
CBS Sports:
Best pick: Taking Georgia linebacker/defensive end Marcus Howard in the fifth round is a steal. He's perfect for the Colts, who like undersized ends with speed.

Questionable move: Nothing really. They added interior line depth, which they had to have, and selected two tight ends, which they needed.

Second-day gem: Tight end Jacob Tamme, a fourth-round pick, is a converted receiver. The Colts lost Ben Utecht, so they try and replace him with Tamme.

Overall grade: B-. Third-round pick Phillip Wheeler is a typical Colts pick, a linebacker who can run.
FOX Sports:
The Colts didn't have a first-round pick, but still landed Arizona State's Mike Pollack, an athletic offensive lineman who may replace center Jeff Saturday one day. He could help at guard this season. Georgia OLB Marcus Howard has speed off the edge and played very well against the best opponents — he fits Tony Dungy's system. Ditto for Georgia Tech OLB Philip Wheeler, who had 16 sacks. Kentucky TE Jacob Tamme was excellent value in the fourth round and Bill Polian is hoping he's found another Dallas Clark.
Grade: C

Monday, April 28, 2008

San Francisco demotes Barry Zito to bullpen

This is why you should not offer lucrative contracts to players who cannot perform their ability at the level that they should be. Case in point:
Barry Zito was demoted to the bullpen Monday by the San Francisco Giants, who hope the former ace can correct his problems by working in relief.

The move was first reported by ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Zito, who only 16 months ago signed a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Giants to lead their rotation, was informed of the move in a meeting with manager Bruce Bochy.

"I'm certainly not happy with it, by any means," Zito said. "But this is the bed that I've made. I have to lay in it for the time being and I have to overcome. I trust management and I trust what their decisions are."

The left-hander has lost his first six starts this season and has a 7.53 ERA that jumped considerably after Zito was tagged for eight earned runs in a 10-1 loss Sunday to Cincinnati.

The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland, Zito lasted just three innings against the Reds and was booed frequently by the crowd at AT&T Park during his shortest outing of the year.

"It's good sometimes just to back off," Bochy said. "It's happened to a lot of great players, position players and even pitchers. We just felt at this point it's time for him to sit back, miss a start and help us in the pen."

A three-time All-Star and San Francisco's Opening Day starter this season, Zito is only the third pitcher since 1956 to go 0-6 before May, joining Texas' Dave Stewart (1984) and Detroit's Mike Maroth (2003).

The durable Zito has made 247 consecutive starts without missing a turn due to injury, the longest streak in the majors. He made his only big league relief appearance last season.
Take a look at his averages from 2002 compared to his seasonal averages from 2003-2008.

2002 ERA: 2.75
2002 Wins-Losses: 23-5
2003-08 W-L Avg: 11-11
2003-08 ERA Avg.: 4.07

Fischer in hot water

You can read it here.

A Letter from former Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr.

The following was penned by former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. after the recent negative attacks by Greg Fischer. He sent this to the media..

April 26, 2008

Dear Editor,

It was extremely painful to watch the campaign ad tonight by U.S. Senate candidate Greg Fischer in his first political race. It was nothing more than a character assassination of Bruce Lunsford that gives an untruthful and misleading impression of Lunsford's career and integrity. While it could be viewed as an effective political ad presented by an actress--it is based on false perceptions, therefore I regretfully feel it is necessary to respond.

A man's reputation is the most important thing he earns. Bruce Lunsford has had a very active, successful, and productive career in public service, as well as business. It is just not right that politics tolerates this type of slander and encourages the opposition to tear the opponent down regardless of the truth. It doesn't belong in our politics, much less a Democratic primary when it is so critical to nominate our most qualified candidate.

Greg’s father, George Fischer, was my Secretary of the Cabinet during my term as Governor and has been a life-long friend of mine, while Bruce Lunsford started his career in public service as my Secretary of Commerce. Both men have had extraordinary careers in public service as well as business and are outstanding Kentuckians. Let our new aspiring candidates build on this success—not tear it down.

I hope Greg discontinues this type of campaign and gives the public a chance to know him for what he offers. Perhaps some day he will earn the right to serve. Win with honor or don’t offer yourself to public service. Greg, Bruce, and the state of Kentucky deserve better.

John Y. Brown, Jr.

Screw the election

It's Derby week! Pundits, we would rather hear which horse has the best chance to knock off the favorite and bring in the dough than to see two candidates keep duking it out while one avoids a debate!

Quote of the Day

“It is foolish to ask Israel, with its tiny piece of real estate, to give it up to those who are avowed to destroying the nation of Israel. It makes no sense at all."
--Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate appearing before an audience at Congregation Zichron Kedoshim, April 13, 2008


Friday, April 25, 2008

Just make it end please!

Clinton wants another debate, Obama calls it a game

Debates are serious and they should not be called "a game" as Obama has resorted to calling them.

Indy Star:
Why another debate toward the end of an exhausting campaign? For starters, the last debate, in Pennsylvania, was heavily criticized for delving into side issues rather than centering on topics such as the economy, health care and foreign policy. Well, then, let's have a debate here that digs into the many serious issues facing the nation and this state. How, for example, do the candidates reconcile increasing taxes during a possible recession? How would they fulfill their pledge to pull troops out of Iraq in a matter of months if the Iraqi government were to collapse or terrorist organizations were to set up training bases there?

It's true that these questions and others have been addressed at various points in a long campaign. But voters tend to pay more attention to candidates' positions when their own primary is imminent. Most voters in Indiana have forgotten what was said in Iowa four months ago.

A debate planned for North Carolina, which also holds its primary on May 6, fell apart this week after the Obama campaign backed out. The senator's loss in Pennsylvania should prompt his advisers to reconsider whether this is the right time to disengage.

The Clinton campaign already has accepted an invitation issued by the Indiana Debate Commission, along with its partners CNN and PBS, to stage in a debate here. (The Debate Commission represents various civic and media organizations, including The Star. Star Editor Dennis Ryerson is vice chairman of the commission.)

Hillary's challenge to debate Obama in Oregon:

KPTV has Obama's response:
“This is an old, Washington game. There have been 21 Democratic debates and four one-on-one debates with Senator Clinton, all televised nationally. Senator Obama's focus is on meeting directly with Oregon voters about the issues that really matter to them – like jobs, ending the war in Iraq, combating climate change, and making health care affordable for all Americans.”

It's a no-brainer

Ohio Governor (and Kentucky graduate) Ted Strickland has it right. It's a no-brainer when it comes to the electability of Sen. Clinton. Ask California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, New York, etc. See here.
Several of Sen. Clinton's supporters among Democratic senators and governors joined on a conference call Wednesday to celebrate her victory. Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio noted that Sen. Clinton has won states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania that are expected to be closely fought in the fall campaign.

"This is for me a no-brainer," Gov. Strickland said. "If we're going to plan to win in November, we need to choose the candidate that has the greatest strength in the states that are necessary to get us the electoral votes we need." He added: "I hope the superdelegates are paying attention."[...]

One adviser said Tennessee Rep. John Tanner, a leader among House Democratic conservatives, had called last week. "He said, 'If she wins Pennsylvania, I'm with you.'" Later in the day, Sen. Clinton's campaign announced Rep. Tanner's endorsement.

The Clinton campaign is renewing its fight to claim disputed votes from Florida and Michigan primaries, but that may anger the very superdelegates the campaign needs.

The Democratic Party stripped both Michigan and Florida of their convention delegates because both held primaries earlier than party rules allow, as all the Democratic presidential candidates recognized at the time. None campaigned in the states, and most candidates -- including Sen. Obama -- weren't on the Michigan ballot. The Clinton campaign says both states' votes should be counted. If they are, Sen. Clinton would overtake Sen. Obama's lead in the overall popular vote, and cut deeply into his pledged-delegates lead.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said on the pro-Clinton conference call that giving Sen. Clinton the lead in the popular vote from all contests, including Michigan and Florida, "should be a sign to these superdelegates that she in fact is the strongest candidate to win the general election in November."
A related article:
"I don't think the tide is turning, I think the tide has turned," New York Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, said in a conference call with reporters.


Imagine my surprise when Joe and Ramel both told me in Hazard that their favorite recent move was The Other Bolelyn Girl. Where does that rank on shocking results? Certainly ahead of Ramel’s quote in the Media Guide that his favorite all-time movie is The Notebook.
What's wrong with this picture is Matt's blatant grammatical error:
*recent move should be recent movie*

There was another one but I try and italicize movie titles and did that...wiping out the other error.

But you can't go wrong with the Hot Knishes of Natlie Portman and Scarlett Johansson! It may have not been my favorite movie of the year but I would place it in my top 10.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Carter is a bigot

Amen to that, brother! Jimmy Carter is lower than Kentucky's own Jim Bunning when it comes to politicians.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday called former President Jimmy Carter "a bigot" for meeting with the leader of the militant Hamas movement in Syria.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, "went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands after shaking the hand of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas," Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a luncheon briefing for reporters.

The diplomat was questioned about problems facing his country during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters lasting more than an hour. The briefing was sponsored by The Israel Project, a Washington-based, media-oriented advocacy group.

The ambassador's harsh words for Carter came days after the ex-president met with Mashaal for seven hours in Damascus to negotiate a cease-fire with Gaza's Hamas rulers. Carter then called Mashaal on Monday to try to get him to agree to a one-month truce without conditions, but the Hamas leader rejected the idea.

The ambassador called last weekend's encounter "a very sad episode in American history."

He said it was "a shame" to see Carter, who had done "good things" as a former president, "turn into what I believe to be a bigot."

Telephone calls by The Associated Press to two Atlanta numbers for Carter were not immediately returned Thursday.

Gillerman said Hamas is armed and trained by Iran, whose president once called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

"The real danger, the real problem is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the real threat is Iran," he said.

Gillerman spoke with reporters from around the world at the Times Square offices of a New York law firm on the day Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in Washington meeting with President Bush.

The ambassador said he was "quite optimistic" about the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement because Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have met more times than any previous leaders of the two sides.

"I believe they've gone deeper and further than any other Israeli or Palestinian leader, and I believe that there is a very good chance (for a settlement)," he said.

Larry Brown headed to Stanford?

Is Larry Brown headed to Stanford University as Jeff Goodman reports might be happening?
Larry Brown at Stanford?

Don’t rule it out.

Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby has reached out to the unemployed former NBA and college head coach – and one source close to Brown said they think he’d take the job if it were offered.

Brown won a national title with Kansas in 1988 and an NBA title with Detroit in 2004. He’s coached seemingly every NBA team in the league, but his last stop came with the New York Knicks and was a disaster.

Brown, 67, attended the Final Four and it’s no secret he wants to get back into coaching – although sources maintain he’d rather be in the NBA than in college.

While Stanford won’t be able to shell out the big bucks of even, say, an Oklahoma State, the one carrot Bowlsby is able to toss in front of prospective coaches is a four-bedroom home in the Bay Area that sources maintain is worth approximately $2 million. Three-bedroom town houses for the assistants are also in play to sweeten the deal – because it would be difficult to get big-time assistants to come due to the excessive cost of living.
The reason why I add on to the speculation that this is happening is this ESPN report.
Larry Brown wants one more stop on his nomadic coaching career.

Brown resigned as the Philadelphia 76ers' executive vice president on Thursday with the intent to pursue a coaching job at the NBA or college level.

Brown, enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, has been a winner at every stop, but hasn't coached since a bitter split with the New York Knicks and then-team president Isiah Thomas after just one season (2005-06).

"He has the taste of coaching back in his mouth," Brown's agent, Joe Glass, said. "It would be refreshing to have a situation going that he could enjoy, rather than the last one, to say the least."

Glass said Brown, who won an NBA title with Detroit (2004) and a college title with Kansas (1988), would not rule out returning to either level.

Brown rejoined the Sixers last season as consultant and was hired in January 2007 as a vice president, more than three years after he quit his coaching job to take the same position in Detroit.

Brown resigned as coach of the 76ers in 2003 after six often-turbulent seasons in which he helped rebuild a struggling franchise. He led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals.
We can officially rule it out as he has spurned Stanford.

NBC: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?!?

It's not surprising given that Lorne Michaels is the executive producer but, um, would you have chosen someone that, oh, I don't know, um, doesn't laugh in the middle of their own joke.

FOX News is reporting what we've been thinking was true for a year or so: Jimmy Fallon will be taking over when Conan O'Brien moves on to The Tonight Show.
The word is out among the NBC brass: As rumored and bounced around for some time, Jimmy Fallon is set to take Conan O’Brien’s job as host of "Late Night" in 2009. It’s a done deal.

Conan, of course, will be taking over for Jay Leno, who will leave the "Tonight" show in May 2009 as part of a forced retirement.

There’s much debate about letting Leno leave NBC etc., but right now let’s just concentrate on Jimmy. He’s the perfect successor to Conan and should have just as big an audience when he takes the reins. Fallon is one of those great underrated performers. This should be the right milieu for him.

I’m told NBC will make the formal announcement about Fallon around May 11 or 12, when the network presents the fall '08 schedule to advertisers here in New York.

Fallon, who recently married producer Nancy Juvonen, is said to be thrilled and ready, if not a little scared, about taking Conan’s desk. He still has to pick a producer and a band, among other things.

As for Leno, he has plenty of options. One of them might be to replace "Nightline" on ABC, pushing Jimmy Kimmel back to 12:30 a.m. But a lot can happen between now and May 2009 in the chess game they call TV programming.
However, the report came from Roger Friedman and TV Squad doesn't think that he's accurate most of the time so we'll see.

Mel Kiper Thought He Missed the Draft

Interesting article in the news about NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper
Mel Kiper Wakes In Middle Of Night Thinking He Missed NFL Draft
NEW YORK—Football personnel analyst and perennial NFL Draft fixture Mel Kiper Jr. woke from a sound sleep Wednesday night with a start and a muted shriek that startled his wife, Kim, whom he told he had dreamt about missing the entire 2008 draft. "I woke up, you know, and looked at the calendar, and it was Monday? And the whole draft was over? And I'd slept through it because I figured it started at 3 p.m. this year instead of noon, so I didn't set an alarm?" Kiper said through chattering teeth while his wife tried to calm him by attempting to stroke his meticulously gelled hair. "But I had worked so hard putting together Mel Kiper's Draft Preview and I was sleepy, you know? So I slept so hard I slept through it and—and—and they had it without me. Without me!" Mrs. Kiper was eventually able to soothe her distraught husband, and the couple passed the rest of the night without incident on the makeshift bed on the steps of Radio City Music Hall, where they spend the time from the end of college football season until Draft Day.

Jenna Bush might vote for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton over John McCain?

At which point, we all just took the bus to crazy town...

The following is a transcript from last night's airing of Larry King Live.
KING: Laura, has it been difficult putting up with all the flack that your husband has taken? And, you know, low polls, is it tough for you emotionally?

L. BUSH: Well, in some ways, of course, because I want George to be popular. But on the other hand, I know that he does what he thinks is right for our country and that he doesn't think he should try to be popular, that that's the easy way out.

But I also know -- and I've been watching the campaign, just like everybody else has, and it's been great theater -- that he takes a huge pounding from the other candidates, not all of them, not my candidate, John McCain, but I think that is -- that's demoralizing to me. I don't like that.

And for people who are running for this very office, I think it's sort of a good thing for them to think about --

KING: You don't like the way the Clinton-Obama campaign has been run, you mean?

L. BUSH: No, no, the way they talk about the president.


L. BUSH: For somebody who wants to be the president, I think maybe it's a good idea not to talk about the president that way. But anyway, that's my advice to them.

KING: Do you watch that race? Did you watch the Pennsylvania results yesterday?

L. BUSH: Sure, last night, we had book events and we came home late and turned on the television. We were in New York last night to see who had won. I mean, I don't watch a lot of it, but whenever I have a chance I'll turn it on and see what's happening.

KING: Do you have a favorite between the two, the two Democrats?

L. BUSH: My favorite is the Republican.


KING: Yours, too, I would imagine.

J. BUSH: I don't know.

KING: A-ha. J. BUSH: But, I mean, you know --

KING: Are you open to --

J. BUSH: Yes, of course. I mean, who isn't open to learning about the candidates? But, I mean, and I'm sure everybody is like that. But I really -- I honestly have been too busy with books to really pay that much attention.[...]

Special guests confirmed...

A source very close to me has confirmed who the special guest(s) will be. It will be a roast in tribute to George W. Bush. The speakers include Dick Cheney, Andy Card, Karl Rove, and Mitch McConnell.

There will be a tribute video from Jon Stewart titled "George Bush is f***ing America," a parody of the Sarah Silverman-Matt Damon video that appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Afterwhich, Teddy Kennedy will give a toast in Bush's honor and that will be followed by a montage of this season's camaign bloopers because no one seems to know where Obama Bin Laden is or when is Barack Osama's next appearance.

Real Life Sarah Marshalls speak out

One is not so pleased. Check here.
Other Sarah Marshalls across the country are equally nonplussed about the promotional signs. Another Marshall – this one a printmaking professor at the University of Alabama – told Fancast, "Apatow's sense of humor is very raunchy and snarky." The silver lining? More than 20,000 people have checked out her personal Web site, prompting her to change her initially disappointed attitude."

"He basically paid for 20,000 people to look at my art," she said.

In response, Marshall crafted a message to Apatow which she posted on her Web site. It says: "Thnx 4 the Hits Judd – You Don't Suck."

Apatow, Bland, Stoller, and Hill to team up to the Greek

Judd Apatow can't stop making hit movies and there's now word of another one in the works.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall helmer Nick Stoller is reteaming with Judd Apatow and Universal Pictures for the comedy Get Him to the Greek, with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand attached to star.

Stoller has been tapped to write and direct the laffer, which centers on a fresh-out-of-college insurance adjuster (Hill) who is hired to accompany an out-of-control rock star (Brand) from London to a gig at L.A.'s Greek Theater.

Hill and Brand played supporting roles in U's Sarah Marshall; Stoller made his feature directing debut on the pic. "During the table read on Sarah Marshall, Jonah and Russell had such a great chemistry," said Stoller, who described Greek as a very dirty take on Almost Famous. "Even though they are such different actors with different styles, I thought there could be a great buddy comedy there."

Stoller is co-writing and will direct the comedy Five-Year Engagement for Universal, with Jason Segel co-writing and attached to star. He and Segel are also collaborating on The Muppet Movie for Disney. Stoller's writing credits include the forthcoming Jim Carrey starrer Yes Man.

Hill's upcoming credits include the comedy This Side of the Truth alongside Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner. He will also lend his voice to DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wayne Krivsky all red as Reds give him pink slip

The Cincinnati Reds have fired general manager Wayne Krivsky less than three years into his tenure, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Krivsky, a former assistant GM with the Minnesota Twins, was hired in 2006, succeeding Dan O'Brien. He was the first general manager to be hired under the Reds ownership group led by Bob Castellini and is in the last year of a three-year contract.

The Reds are currently 9-12 and 5½ games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

Krivsky's best move may have been acquiring second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later, who later turned out to be minor-leaguer Jeff Stevens. Phillips hit 30 home runs and 26 doubles for the Reds last season and has become one of the NL's best second basemen.

His most questionable move may have been his July 13, 2006 deal sending everyday starters Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez along with pitcher Ryan Wagner to the Washington Nationals for pitchers Gary Majewski, Bill Bray and Daryl Thompson; shortstop Royce Clayton; and infielder Brendan Harris.

The trade, made with the hopes of bolstering the Reds' bullpen in the midst of a pennant race, backfired. Both Majewski and Bray are currently in the minors, Harris was dealt after the 2006 season to the Tampa Bay Rays for future considerations and Clayton left as a free agent.

"We paid a steep price," Krivsky said at the time of the trade. "I'm sure this will be a controversial trade. I know a lot of people will be leaving nasty messages on my voicemail, and I'll have some who think it's great."

Quote of the Day

"I'm thrilled to be on Deal or No Deal with you tonight. Come to think of it, I'm thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days."
--President George W. Bush, Deal or No Deal, April 21, 2008

This just in: Barack Obama can't win big states

The junior senator from Illinois has the money to win but when push comes to shove, he can't seal the deal. He's had plenty of opportunities but Wrightgate and Bittergate showed that Americans are seeing the real Obama. The one that the media hid when they fell in love with him and showen us that they just can't objectively report on political campaigns anymore. I can't sit by idly anymore and now the rest of America is starting to realize that we don't want to get duped. I see it. Why can't you?!?

I have recieved several emails but have refrained from posting because that's how bad it is in the blogosphere when people are afraid of posting something true...even if it means getting bashed by the rest of the blogosphere and you know what? Not anymore. I'm not going to sit by while the rest of the bloggers think that, well, I won't get into that right now.

Obama has shown time and time again that HE CANNOT WIN A BIG STATE. The caucus system doesn't work and think about this: how many electoral votes do those states have?

Kentucky will go to McCain in the end as Obama's rhetoric will lead to a loss just by knowing how Kentucky has voted in the past. Heck, I can name on more than two hands the number of Democrats I have spoken with who have said they will not vote for Obama if he is the nominee.

Iran is a threat and like it or not, it's an issue that I will vote on with serious consideration. We're facing a global war on terror and the next liberal that comes up to me claiming that I drank the kool-aid, I got news for you. This isn't a utopia that we live in. Nothing's perfect. Heck, I was for taking out Saddam before it was cool to do so (I just didn't like the lack of a exit strategy - or strategery - or the way that the president went all about it).

As the Clinton campaign has said today, "The tide is turning." It's true. Obama had it in the bag (not quite, there's still the whole Florida and Michigan fiasco that the party brought upon itself.
The voters in Pennsylvania have spoken. America is listening. And the tide is turning.

By providing fresh evidence that Hillary is the candidate best positioned to beat John McCain in the fall, the Pennsylvania primary is a turning point in the nominating contest.

Despite making an unprecedented financial investment in his Pennsylvania campaign, including millions on negative ads in the closing days of the race, Sen. Obama again failed to win a state that will be vital to a Democratic victory in November and spurred new questions about his ability to beat John McCain. No candidate has ever had more resources or enjoyed the kind of momentum that Sen. Obama had in Pennsylvania.

With concerns about the economy paramount, voters decided that Sen. Clinton was the candidate they trusted most to deal with job loss, the housing crisis and health care.

And with both candidates under the microscope at the same time for the first time, Hillary took more than a few punches and came out stronger while Sen. Obama emerged weaker as voters learned more about him. The exit polls clearly show that Sen. Clinton gained strength in the final days when the campaign was most engaged.

The reason for the Clinton comeback is clear: voters want a candidate who will stand strong for them and work to create a better future.

STRONG ON ECONOMY: Pennsylvania turned on which candidate made the better case for fixing the economy. Exit polls show voters viewed Hillary more favorably on the economy - her leadership resonated across the heartland of Pennsylvania. Those who want change in the economy voted overwhelmingly for Hillary.

A DECISIVE VICTORY: According to exit polls, Hillary won voters most concerned about the economy by 16 points (58-42) and union households by 18 points (59-41). She won those with incomes between 100K and 150K by 20 points (60-40); white women by 32 points (66-34) and Catholics by 38 points (69-31). She won those who decided on the last day (59-41), the last three days (58-42) and the last week (54-46).

SEN. OBAMA PLAYED TO WIN & LOST: Sen. Obama played to win Pennsylvania outright, outspending the Clinton camp by a 3 to 1 margin while sharply attacking Sen. Clinton on the stump and in television, radio, and direct mail pieces. He understood what was at stake for him in Pennsylvania, had six full weeks to make his case, went for a knockout at the end and came up short. Sen. Obama’s failure to do well raises questions about his ability to win the large, swing states that Democrats need to win in November.

HRC WILL WIN IN NOVEMBER: Democrats must win the large swing states to beat John McCain in the fall, but Sen. Obama has struggled in states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. In addition, Hillary’s voters form the coalition needed for Democratic success in the fall battleground states: women, Hispanics, older voters, working class voters and Catholics. Sen. McCain is stronger than a typical Republican normally is among these groups while Sen. Obama has proven weaker among them. Hillary is also most likely to hold traditionally Democratic states and poised to expand the electoral map in the Southwest while also flipping a few traditionally GOP states like Arkansas.
Flowery speeches won't cut it. Experience and decisive action will.


Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania Speech Transcript

The following was delivered last night by Sen. Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia, PA after the networks called Pennsylvania in her favor.

Thank you so much. Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Oh, thank you.

It’s a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and it runs right through the heart of Pennsylvania.

For six weeks Senator Obama and I have crisscrossed this state, meeting people up close, being judged side by side, making our best case. You listened and today you chose.

With two wars abroad and an economic crisis here at home, you know the stakes are high and the challenges are great, but you also know the possibilities. Those possibilities are endless, if we roll up our sleeves and get to work with a president who is ready to lead on day one.

That means ready to take charge as Commander-in-Chief and make this economy work for middle class families. And I thank you. I thank you, Pennsylvania, for deciding I can be that president.

For me, the victory we share tonight is deeply personal. It was here in Pennsylvania where my grandfather started work as a boy in the lace mills and ended up as a supervisor five decades later. It was here where my father attended college and played football for Penn State. And I am back here tonight because of their hard work and sacrifice. And I only wish they could have lived to see this moment, because in this election I carry with me not just their dreams, but the dreams of people like them and like you all across our country - people who embrace hard work and opportunity, who never waver in the face of adversity, who stand for what you believe and never stop believing in the promise of America.

I’m in this race to fight for you, to fight for everyone who has ever been counted out, for everyone fighting to pay the grocery bills or the medical bills, the credit card and mortgage payments, and the outrageous price of gas at the pump today.

You know, the pundit's question whether Pennsylvanians would trust me with this charge and tonight you showed you do. You know you can count on me to stand up strong for you every single day in the White House.

This has been a historic race and I commend Senator Obama and his supporters tonight. We are, in many ways, all on this journey together to create an America that embraces every last one of us. The women in their nineties who tell me they were born before women could vote and they're hopeful of seeing a woman in the White House. The mothers and fathers at my events, who lift their little girls on their shoulders and whisper in their ears, "see, you can be anything you want."

Tonight, more than ever, I need your help to continue this journey. This is your campaign and this is your victory tonight. Your support has meant the difference between winning and losing. We can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who outspends us so massively. So, I hope you'll go to and show your support tonight because the future of this campaign is in your hands.

Some people counted me out and said to drop out, but the American people don't quit and they deserve a president who doesn't quit either.

Tonight all across Pennsylvania and America, teachers are grading papers and doctors and nurses are caring for the sick, and you deserve a leader who listens to you.

Waitresses are pouring coffee and police officers are standing guard and small businesses are working to meet that payroll, and you deserve a champion who stands with you.

And of course, all across the world, our men and women in uniform, some on your second, third or fourth tour of duty, you deserve a Commander-in-Chief who will finally bring you home and who will rebuild our strained military, do whatever it takes to care for our veterans wounded in both body and spirit.

Today, here in Pennsylvania, you made your voices heard and because of you, the tide is turning.

We were up against a formidable opponent who outspent us three to one. He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of the race. Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas tonight.

The presidency is the toughest job in the world, but the pressures of a campaign are nothing compared to the pressures of the White House, and today, Pennsylvanians looked through all the heat and saw the light of a brighter tomorrow - a tomorrow of shared prosperity and restored world leadership for peace, security, and cooperation. After seven long years of President Bush, we've got our work cut out for us and we don't have a minute to waste. So, it’s high time we stop talking about our problems and start solving them and that is what my campaign is all about.

All through this campaign, I have offered solutions: solutions for good jobs you can raise a family on; jobs that can't be shipped overseas; and on Earth Day, clean, renewable green jobs that can put us on the right track to the future; solutions for independence from foreign oil and exploding gas prices; quality affordable healthcare not just for many Americans or most Americans but for every single American, no exceptions and no excuses; affordable college and real improvements in public schools, not the failure that is No Child Left Behind. We’re going to end the war on science and have a renewed commitment to science and research. We will tackle everything from Autism to Alzheimer’s, cancer to diabetes, and make a real difference.

I look forward to discussing all of these issues with the people of Indiana, North Carolina and the states that I’ll be visiting in the coming weeks.

Not long ago a woman handed me a photograph of her father as a young soldier. He was receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman at the White House. During World War II, he had risked his life on a daring mission to drive back the enemy and protect his fellow soldiers. In the corner of that photo, in shaky handwriting, this American hero had simply written: "To Hillary Clinton, keep fighting for us." And that is what I’m going to do because America is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for.

It was in this city that our founders declared America’s independence and our permanent mission to form a more perfect union. Neither Senator Obama nor I nor many of you were fully included in that vision, but we've been blessed by men and women in each generation who saw America not as it is, but as it could and should be. The abolitionists and the suffragists, the progressives and the union members, the civil rights leaders, all those who marched, protested and risked their lives because they looked into their children's eyes and saw the promise of a better future.

Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote. Because of them, my daughter grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could attend school together. And because of them and because of you, this next generation will grow up taking for granted that a woman or an African American can be the president of the United States of America.

I am so honored by the support and the hospitality of all of the people of Pennsylvania. I want to especially thank Governor Rendell and Mayor Nutter, Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll and the State Treasurer Robin Wiessmann and State Party Chair T.J. Rooney. These are great leaders and dear friends, as are my friends from the Congress, Representatives Murtha, Sestak, Schwartz and Kanjorski. Their support means the world to me and the support of 100 mayors across this commonwealth and so many other state and local leaders who worked hard for this victory tonight.

I want to thank my friends in our labor unions for standing with us every step of the way. And my outstanding staff, volunteers and supporters here in Pennsylvania and across America.

I especially want to thank my family for their incredible love and support. Bill and Chelsea have crisscrossed Pennsylvania from one end to the other. My brothers Hugh and Tony who love Pennsylvania with all their hearts, from our childhood summers in Lake Winola, and my mother who is with us tonight.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but if you're ready, I’m ready. I might stumble and I might get knocked down, but as long as you'll stand with me I will always get right back up. Because for me, in the end, the question isn't whether we can keep America’s promise, it's whether we will keep America’s promise.

So let me ask you tonight - will we once again be the can-do nation, the nation that defies the odds and does the impossible?

Will we break the barriers and open the doors and lift up all of our people?

Will we reach out to the world and lead by the power of our ideals again?

Will we take back the White House and take back our country?

I believe with all of my heart that together we will turn promises into action, words will become solutions, hope will become reality, so my answer to any who doubt is "yes, we will."

Thank you and G-d bless you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Matzah is scarce this year!

I don't know what to make of this. I had no trouble finding boxes...but you are almost always out of luck if you, I don't know, wait til the last minute.

The United States is facing a matzah shortage.

Shoppers from coast to coast are having difficulty finding matzah on store shelves, The New York Times reported.

The shortage is the result of production difficulties at the Manischewitz plant in New Jersey, as well as the decision by some store chains, such as Trader Joe's and Costco, not to carry matzah this year, the Times reported.
It should also be noted that we are currently in a shmita year so farmers in Israel are resting their fields, meaning there is not exporting of products to the United States.

Wiki is your friend.
During Shmita, the land is left to lay fallow and all agricultural activity—including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting—is forbidden by Torah law. Other cultivation techniques—such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing—may be performed as a preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of Shmita produce.
Relevant Biblical verses include: Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:20-22, Deuteronomy 31:10-13, Jeremiah 34:13-14, Nehemiah 10:32, and 2 Chronicles 36:20-21.
According to the laws of shmita, land owned by Jews in the Land of Israel is left unfarmed. The law does not apply to land in the Diaspora. In Biblical times any naturally growing produce was left to be taken by poor people, passing strangers, and beasts of the field. While naturally growing produce such as grapes growing on existing vines can be harvested, it cannot be sold or used for commercial purposes; it must be given away or consumed.

The laws of Shmita do not apply to plants inside a house or greenhouse, which may be tended as usual.

On a shmita year, personal debts are considered forgiven at sunset on the 29th of Elul. Since this aspect of shmita is not dependent on the land, it applies to Jews both in Israel and elsewhere.
In other Pesach news, Bill Kristol analyzes the Pesach statements released by the campaigns and points out a Democratic blunder.
So if Clinton’s Passover message is liberal, and Obama’s is multicultural, one might call McCain’s Zionist. There’s a clear choice of worldviews here — and not just for Jews, but for all Americans.

I might add that both Democratic campaigns missed an opportunity last week. They seem not to have noticed that the date of the first Seder, April 19, was also the 233rd anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. So, a few days before Pennsylvanians vote, the candidates could have commemorated not just the Exodus from Egypt but also “the shot heard round the world,” thus identifying themselves all at once with political liberation, religious freedom and — yes! — the right to bear arms.
Hillary Clinton's Statement on Passover:
As Jewish families across the world prepare to gather together around the Seder table, I am delighted to offer greetings and good wishes for a joyous Passover.

I have always been inspired by the enduring words of the Haggadah: "In every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we personally came out of Egypt." It's through remembering the past that we become strong and effective advocates for all who suffer the indignity and pain of servitude and injustice. I am deeply moved by this timeless cry to stand up to oppression, tyranny, and discrimination -- wherever they are found.

As you prepare your homes and your hearts for this Passover season, please know that Bill, Chelsea, and I join you in celebrating freedom and family.

Hag Sameach -- May this be a season of joy for all!
Sen. John McCain's Statement on Passover:
"At sundown tomorrow, families across this country and around the world will join together in celebrating the Exodus of their ancestors from bondage in Egypt. As families gather together for Seders, members of the Jewish faith reflect upon the painful sacrifices made by their ancestors, the joys of freedom, and the triumph of inherent goodness over evil. From our family, Cindy and I would like to extend our best wishes for a happy Passover. Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

"As Passover commences, we should also take a moment to reflect on several individuals who will celebrate this occasion, once again, in captivity. In summer 2006, Hamas and Hezbollah kidnapped three young Israelis -- Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser -- and have held them ever since. When I met with the families of two of these men in December 2006, I heard firsthand about their difficulties. To go on without knowledge of these men's whereabouts or physical condition is a terrible thing, and yet these families endure. I committed then to bring attention to this situation, to insist that the Geneva Conventions are observed, and to call for the swift release of these men. I remain committed to this effort and I hope the entire international community will do the same."
President George W. Bush's Passover Message:
Passover, 5768

Then Moses said to the people, "Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand."
Exodus 13:3

I send greetings to those observing Passover.

More than 3,000 years ago, G-d liberated the Children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt and led them on a journey towards the Promised Land. During the holy days of Passover, Jews around the world celebrate this deliverance from oppression and give thanks to a loving G-d for His many blessings. Passover is an opportunity for Jewish families and friends to gather to read the Haggadah, share the Seder meal, and remember G-d's mercy through song and prayer. This eight-day observance brings a message of hope and freedom to the Jewish people.

Laura and I send our best wishes for a joyous Passover.
Sen. Barack Obama's Passover Greeting:
This week, Jewish families across America and around the world are preparing for Passover. And on Saturday night, Jews will gather around the Seder table and retell the ancient story of a journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Land of Israel.

The Seder, with all its rich traditions, has much to teach us all. Its emphasis on teaching children, and letting them demonstrate their knowledge through the traditional asking of questions, embodies the great Jewish traditions of family and education. Most of all, the Haggadah tells us an ancient story to both recall history, and to teach us lessons about the moral imperatives that we must aim to live by today; it demonstrates the power of maintaining faith and determination, and reminds us that we must constantly work on behalf of freedom in the face of injustice.

American Jews have always played a vital role in our national conversation. As we approach this Passover holiday, let us continue to engage in dialogue, and to ask ourselves and each other how the Passover story challenges us to question the world as it is, and to seek a future that is more just and more peaceful for all.

Michelle, Malia, and Sasha join me in sending warm wishes for a joyous and meaningful Passover.

Judd Apatow: Dayenu

Had Judd written and produced The Ben Stiller Show but not wrote and produced Heavyweights, Dayenu.

Had Judd written and produced Heavyweights but not produced The Critic, Dayenu.

Had Judd produced The Critic but not wrote and produced Celtic Pride, Dayenu.

Had Judd written and produced Celtic Pride but not wrote and produced The Larry Sanders Show, Dayenu.

Had Judd written and produced The Larry Sanders Show but not wrote, directed or produced Freaks and Geeks, Dayenu.

Had Judd written, directed or produced Freaks and Geeks but not produced Zero Effect, Dayenu.

Had Judd produced Zero Effect but not written and produced Undeclared, Dayenu.

Had Judd written and produced Undeclared but produced Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Dayenu.

Had Judd produced Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy but not produced Kicking and Screaming, Dayenu.

Had Judd produced Kicking and Screaming but not written, directed, or produced The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Dayenu.

Had Judd written, directed, or produced The 40 Year-Old Virgin but not produced Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Dayenu.

Had Judd produced Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby but not written, directed, and produced Knocked Up, Dayenu.

Had Judd written, directed, and produced Knocked Up but not produced Superbad, Dayenu.

Had Judd produced Superbad but not written and produced Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Dayenu.

Had Judd written and produced Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story but not produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Dayenu.

Dayenu is a song in the Pesach Haggadah and it means: it would have been enough for us or it would have been sufficient.

How Ford ended up at Oklahoma State

Apparently, C.M. Newton had a role in Travis Ford ending up at OSU.
Officially, basketball elder statesman C.M. Newton keeps a hand in the game as a consultant for the Southeastern Conference. Unofficially, he's also the wise oracle approached by schools looking to hire a coach.

That's what Oklahoma State did after firing Sean Sutton as coach. The Cowboys' athletic director, Mike Holder, knew he wanted to hire Bill Self of Kansas. Yet he still called Newton for advice.

"How'd you hire Rick Pitino?" Holder asked in reference to Newton's 1989 coup in hiring Pitino away from the New York Knicks.

Newton thought Oklahoma State had a chance to hire Self. OSU was Self's alma mater. The school could rightly say it not only wanted him to return home, but needed him to return home.

When Self decided to stay at Kansas, Holder called Newton for advice on what coach to approach. Newton pondered what coach could enjoy small-town life in Stillwater, Okla. What coach had proven ability to rebuild programs. And when Holder said he wanted to hire a young coach who could relate to players, Newton recommended Travis Ford.

"I'd known Travis for years," Newton said. "I knew him as a player. I tried to recruit him for Vanderbilt. Then I watched him play for Rick (at Kentucky)."

The clincher came in March as Newton, head of the revamped National Invitation Tournament, watched Ford lead Massachusetts to the championship game.

"I thought, 'Boy, this guy has really grown up and grown into the job,' " Newton said.

Last week, Oklahoma State hired Ford.

The hire made Newton think of when he suggested that Florida A.D. Jeremy Foley consider hiring Billy Donovan, who has led to unprecedented success for the Gators.

"I told Jeremy Foley, you're getting the next Pitino," Newton said. "I told Mike, you're getting the next Billy Donovan."

Newton sees this role as simply rendering an opinion, in his case an expert opinion. He's not looking to start a second consultant business.
I agree with Billy on this one.
Coach Billy Gillispie recently proposed a radical idea to his coaching staff: Why not put together a nonconference schedule consisting entirely of teams from major conferences?

His staff quickly shot him down.

"Because they probably have more common sense in that area," Gillispie said.

Scheduling can be a chore at the major-college level, and scheduling big-conference teams often requires return games. In order to play a significant number of games in Rupp Arena -- which is crucial to the Wildcats' revenue stream -- UK needs to play some games at home against smaller-conference foes who will play for a paycheck and no return home game the next season.

So the Cats won't be lining up all their opponents from the Big East, Big Ten and other power conferences.

From a purely competitive standpoint, though, the idea appeals to Gillispie.

"I like those kinds of games," he said. "I think players like those kinds of games. I know the fans enjoy them, as long as you win them all."

UK hopes to complete its nonconference schedule by May 1 and is close to wrapping it up, Gillispie said.

Here comes that Omer feeling again

As we do every spring time starting on the second night of Pesach, we count the fifty days of the Omer...and yes, that comes with some restrictions. Here is your background on the counting of the Omer.
Starting on the second day of Passover, the Torah (Leviticus 23:15) says it is a mitzvah every day to "count the Omer" -- the 50 days leading up to Shavuot. This is an important period of growth and introspection, in preparation for the holiday of Shavuot which arrives 50 days later.

Shavuot is the day that the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, and as such required a seven-week preparation period. The commentators say that we were freed from Egypt only in order to receive the Torah and to fulfill it. Thus we were commanded to count from the second day of Pesach until the day that the Torah was given -- to show how greatly we desire the Torah.
The first 33 days:
The Talmud tells us that Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students who tragically died during the Omer period, because they did not treat each other with sufficient respect. Therefore, for the 33 days from Passover until Lag B'Omer, we observe these signs of mourning:

1) no weddings
2) not listening to instrumental music, either live or recorded (vocal music is permitted)
3) no haircuts or shaving, unless for business purposes

Judd and Seth in the news

Finally, someone else thinks as I do: Walk Hard was terrific!
The harder they walk, the flatter they fall. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story stumbled into box-office disaster during the holidays, generating a pathetic $18.3 million in North America. Sony/Columbia is now mounting a marketing campaign to rescue the film on DVD. Funny thing is, Jake Kasdan's crazy flick is actually worth the effect. It is often hilarious. Cruel, rude, profane and occasionally idiotic? Yes. But clever and funny. Plus, the music kicks major butt.

With John C. Reilly as the swaggering singing star, Walk Hard is a mockumentary that satirizes the rough life and tortured times of Johnny Cash. There are side trips into music genres as varied as acid rock and variety slop from '60s TV. Reilly, who beautifully sang Cellophane Man in Chicago, dramatically expands his repertoire here and adds flair.

Walk Hard debuted on DVD last week in two versions, both widescreen only. One is the single-disc, widescreen edition with modest extras. The other is a terrific, two-disc, unrated edition that comes fully loaded with extras, including eight new full-song performances. Most importantly, there is an extended cut, in addition to the original 96-minute theatrical release.
Check out this interview with Jason Segel.

Getting everything Clinton out of my system...

I mean the news, you idiot! You really thought I was doing what you thought I was doing? Then you aren't the blog reader that I thought you were!

The Senator appeared on The Colbert Report last week. You can watch the video at Comedy Central. While you are at it, you can read about her visit with Stephen here.
Clinton walked on to the opening of the show, taped before a live audience at the University of Pennsylvania, pretending to repair a technical problem and fix host Stephen Colbert's makeup before rushing off the set.

"You are so prepared for any situation," said a mock-stunned Colbert.

The New York senator replied: "Call me anytime."

"Really?" Colbert asked.

"Sure," Clinton replied. Then she added: "Call me at 3 a.m.," before rushing off to attend a block party in northeast Philadelphia.
Hmmm...this one is interesting. Is Obama the new John Kerry?
The specter of John Kerry in 2004 is beginning to haunt the Democrats in 2008. It is the specter of wimpy campaigns past. It showed up, like Banquo's ghost, at the debate Wednesday night in Philadelphia, particularly when Hillary Clinton joined with ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson to nip away at the edges of Barack Obama's patriotism. Between the questions about Obama's meager association with William Ayers, a former Weatherman, and the suspicions raised by his lack of a flag lapel pin, the likely nominee is slowly being turned into John Kerry. He is becoming, in other words, a candidate who may be mostly right about national security but who will lack the Red State street cred to carry his point—and the election.

Once again timorous Democratic advisers behind the scenes are hoping they can run mainly on the ailing economy. While their candidates are urging an end to George W. Bush's war in Iraq, they are terrified of questioning the larger premises of his "war on terror" or John McCain's redefinition of it as the "transcendent challenge of the 21st century." Today's Dems are, in other words, proving unequal to the task of reclaiming the party's mostly honorable heritage on national security. This view is sadly out of touch, today more than ever. To little notice, Obama's tough, clearly stated position on Bush's war—that it was disastrously misdirected toward Iraq when Afghanistan was always the real front—is becoming conventional wisdom, even among the Bush administration's top security officials, like Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. During two days of nearly impenetrable testimony on Iraq by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker last week, one answer rang out as clearly as an alarm bell. Under questioning from Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Crocker admitted that Al Qaeda poses a greater threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it does in Iraq. No one knows more about this than the ambassador, an Arabic-speaking diplomat who previously served as envoy to Pakistan and whose career practically tells the story of America and the age of terror going back to the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut.

Yet the region that poses America's number one threat is getting little in attention and resources compared to Iraq. What Obama is arguing on the stump is pretty close to what Gates and the Joint Chiefs have been quietly hearing from their military advisers: that the best the United States can do with its scant NATO force of 37,000 in Afghanistan is to hold off the resurgent Taliban and their Al Qaeda guests in a stalemate. Under current conditions Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief culprits of 9/11, will continue to have plenty of room to roam, unharried by any large-scale U.S. or Pakistani effort to go after them. This is even truer today; next door to Afghanistan, Pakistan is transitioning into a post-Musharraf era and seeking to negotiate more with the extremists. Obama called last year for two additional brigades to be sent to Afghanistan, and last week he was joined by Biden, who told an audience at Georgetown University that "the longer we stay in Iraq, the more we put off the day when we fully join the fight against the real Al Qaeda threat and finally defeat those who attacked America seven years ago." Biden added that Gen. Dan McNeil, commander of the international force in Afghanistan, told him during a visit in February "that with two extra combat brigades—about 10,000 soldiers—he could turn around the security situation in the south, where the Taliban is on move. But he can't get them because of Iraq." Even Hillary Clinton has been tacking, very quietly, in Obama's direction.
Obama's bitter remark just might come back to bite him in the tuchas!
If someone quacks like an elitist, he just might be one.
Here's a shock if you ever saw one. The Pittsburgh-Tribune Review endorsed Clinton!
In policy terms, relatively little may separate these two. Obama ranks as one of the most liberal U.S. senators, but Clinton is no conservative. Determining how they differ is difficult, though, because Obama is long on soaring rhetoric yet painfully short on record.

He has spent just three years in the U.S. Senate. Before that, he spent just eight years as one of 177 state legislators in Illinois. Before that, he was a university lecturer, a community organizer, a civil-rights lawyer.

Quite simply, this is no portfolio for a president, the world's most powerful leader. The presidency is no place for on-the-job training in the best of times -- and certainly not when the nation is at war, the economy is struggling, and federal governance in general is adrift.

More disturbing is what seems to be Obama's private view of America.[...]

In sharp contrast, Clinton is far more experienced in government -- as an engaged first lady to a governor and a president, as a second-term senator in her own right.

She has a real voting record on key issues. Agree with her or not, you at least know where she stands instead of being forced to wonder.

Many of her views on domestic issues are too liberal for us, but on others she seems to have moderated. She told the Trib she opposes raising the cap on Social Security taxes, and she is less eager to raise income taxes than Obama.

More important, she is extremely knowledgeable on crucial foreign issues. Meeting with Trib editors last month, she ticked off an impressive list of international challenges and the solutions. (In Wednesday's Philadelphia debate, Obama praised George H.W. Bush's foreign policy -- apparently not realizing that one of its architects was then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, a man he regularly excoriates.)

As we noted at the time of that meeting, Clinton's decision to sit down with the Trib was courageous, given our longstanding criticism of her. That is no small matter: Political courage is essential in a president. Clinton has demonstrated it; Obama has not.

She has a real record. He doesn't.

She has experience of value to a president. He doesn't.

Clearly, she's the wiser choice to represent Democrats this fall.
Tim Ryan has endorsed Sen. Clinton.

Sen. Clinton pens some last words on the campaign trail before today's primary.

Because everybody knows his name, Ted Danson went on the stump for Sen. Clinton.
Ted Danson walked into the Cucina Maria on Sunday, a place where everybody knew his name.

But the Emmy and Golden Globe winning Hollywood star made it clear while thanking the campaign workers of presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton that his commitment to her election is more than just a publicity draw.

“What I have to offer is our friendship and knowing her as a human being,” Danson said of Clinton, a personal friend of his wife, the former Mary Steenburgen, for 30 years, and himself for 15 years.

That, as well as a staunch belief in her plans for stimulating America’s economy by safeguarding the environment.[...]

“Thanks for working hard for Hillary,” Danson said, shaking hands and having his photo taken with each of the 35 or so workers and supporters there. “And Larry Bird never gave up either,” he joked to several.

“This is the most important election in our lifetime,” he said as he answered questions from the media, noting a delicate balance on hold right now between the economy, foreign affairs and environmental issues, all of which he said are interrelated.

Danson said for years environmentalists have been pitted against industrialists, referring to the scenarios which portrayed the country as having to choose between cutting jobs to meet environmental standards, or letting industrial practices run rampant on the eco-system

“That’s a bogus argument,” Danson said, describing the “millions of jobs” that middle class skilled trades workers such as electricians could be working building solar panels, recycling facilities and other alternative energy facilities.

“We have to keep the manufacturing base here,” he said, later noting that “you can’t export recycling jobs,” and that Americans need to “start talking about the environment in terms of jobs.”

But along with environmental concerns, Danson also expressed concern for the sky-rocketing cost of higher education, stating “the loans are ridiculous” in reference to student loans.

All of which is further compounded by unfair trade agreements with countries to whom the United States is so deeply in debt that negotiations are difficult.

“It’s like Bill Clinton said,” he stated, referring to former President Clinton’s recent speech in which he described fighting off trade agreements with nations such as China while owing them trillions of dollars.

“Everything is so complicated,” he said. “We really need a bright, bright person.”

And for a family friend of the Clintons who knows Hillary personally, he said she’s the one.

“I really like a person who can take a punch and keep getting up,” he said. “No one takes a punch like Hillary Clinton,” he said, noting she’s one of the hardest workers he’s ever met and a “chronic problem solver”

“If I tell Hillary about a problem I’m having I’d better be ready for her to fix it.”

Clinton is also an “authentic person,” he said, who talks to his children the same way she speaks to world leaders.

And with Tuesday’s primary election in Pennsylvania running tight, the opportunity for Hoosier voters to choose the Democratic party’s candidate is imminent.

“You guys here in Indiana are going to do it,” he said. “If Pennsylvania passes you the ball, then you can slam dunk it here in Indiana”

But regardless of whom one supports, Danson encourages everyone to volunteer in the process.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of the candidates,” he said. “The eyes of the world are on Indiana.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

Buy this album!

I'm back from the Yom Tov hiatus. Now, what are you still doing? You must buy this album:

One of Jukebox the Ghost's members has ties to the Commonwealth of Kentucky but don't let that deter you any.

This is a great band. I saw them at the Rud a few months back during their your.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Live footage

Live footage of this morning's West Salem, Illinois earthquake can be found CNN thanks to WFIE in Evansville. The footage is from 14 Sunrise this morning.

Pesach Hiatus

Due to Shabbas and Pesach, I will not be on the computer from sundown Friday until after sundown Monday night.

I won't be forgetting Sarah Marshall but I won't be seeing the movie until Tuesday at the earliest.

Until then...

Earthquake shocks midwest

I slept straight through it. But as you can tell, this one was felt as far south as Atlanta, Georgia!
Residents across the Midwest were awakened Friday by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that rattled skyscrapers in Chicago's Loop and homes in Cincinnati but appeared to cause no major injuries or damage.

The quake just before 5:37 a.m. was centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and 45 miles from Evansville, Ind. It was felt in such distant cities as Milwaukee, Des Moines, Iowa, and Atlanta, nearly 400 miles to the southeast.

Bonnie Lucas, a morning co-host at WHO-AM in Des Moines, said she was sitting in her office when she felt her chair move. She grabbed her desk, and then heard the ceiling panels start to creak. The shaking lasted about 5 seconds, she said.

The quake is believed to have involved the Wabash fault, a northern extension of the New Madrid fault about six miles north of Mount Carmel, Ill., said United States Geological Survey geophysicist Randy Baldwin.

The last earthquake in the region to approach the severity of Friday's temblor was a 5.0 magnitude quake that shook a nearby area in 2002, Baldwin said.

"This is a fairly large quake for this region," he said. "They might occur every few years."

Initially reported as a 5.4-magnitude earthquake, the USGS revised its estimate to 5.2. Two aftershocks during the next three hours measured 2.6 and a 2.5.

"This was widely felt, all the way to Atlanta, a little bit in Michigan," said USGS geophysicist Carrieann Bedwell.[...]

In Louisville, Ky., the quake caused some bricks to fall off a building near downtown. Television video showed them strewn in the street.

In Chicago, officials were checking structures downtown to ensure there was no damage. The quake also shook skyscrapers in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of the epicenter.
Several aftershocks have occurred and I felt one between 11:10 and 11:15 AM, which was reported to be a 4.5 on the Richter scale.

Major irony? Business First had an article on earthquake insurance in today's paper.

On shaky ground: Proximity to New Madrid fault means Louisville homes, businesses should be insured for earthquakes

Business First of Louisville - by Marilyn Clark Business First Correspondent

Though Louisville has never been the epicenter of an earthquake, that doesn't mean those living in the area should ignore the possibility of a big one coming and causing major damage to homes and businesses.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Debate, schmebate

What debate? The only thing to debate is how much money Forgetting Sarah Marshall will be bringing in since much of the Jewish viewers will be busy cooking for Pesach.

Did you notice this trend? I sure didn't until now.
Americans vote at the ballot box, they also express their political preferences at the box office. And recent cinematic trends suggest that conservatism is not as moribund as some hope and others fear.

An intriguing case in point is the inability of Hollywood to translate the unpopularity of the war into domestic box office success. Major studios have produced movies highly critical of Bush's war on terror with some of Hollywood's most bankable stars.

However, every one of these movies bombed at the box office. Consider "Rendition" with Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal, "In the Valley of Elah" with Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Thereon or "Lions for Lambs" with Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. These box office flops led Jon Stewart to quip at the Oscars that "Withdrawing the Iraq movies would only embolden the audience. We cannot let the audience win."

By contrast, recent movies with distinctly conservative messages have been huge hits. Judd Apatow's recent films are a case in point. "Knocked Up," and "Superbad," earned a combined domestic gross in excess of $270,000,000.

With their drug use, drinking and gross humor, these movies might seem like unlikely platforms for traditional values. However, no less an authoritative source than Seth Rogen, star of "Knocked Up" and co-writer of "Superbad," said, "We make extremely right-wing movies with extremely filthy dialogue."

The thematic content of these movies supports Rogen's point. Each movie is a traditional morality tale, a poignantly humorous work where characters come of age by overcoming modern temptations and embracing conservative principles.

"Superbad" is the story of two geeky boys about to graduate high school who spend a night quixotically searching for liquor and meaningless sex, only to find that they do not need the former or desire the latter.

"Knocked Up" also unabashedly celebrates traditional mores. Rogen plays a stoner and a slacker who impregnates a young career woman during a night of drunken sex. However, the young woman decides to have her child even though an unplanned pregnancy might jeopardize her budding career as a television reporter.

Equally as telling, Rogen's character redeems his feckless life by committing himself to his partner and their child. The result is a movie that is as expressly pro-monogamy as it is implicitly anti-abortion.
And I thought Hollywood was full of liberals.

Speaking of Judd Apatow and Sarah Marshall, The Hollywood Reporter has a great article up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bloggers visit Israel

I can't help but get a chuckle out of this. It's a great article...but could you at least get the name right?
Chris Powers, who writes for Open Left, said he and some other prominent bloggers stopped writing about the war when the talkbacks became especially ugly, pitting pro and anti-Israel readers against one another.

For Jerome Armstrong, a Democratic Party strategist and political consultant who blogs at and was a pioneer in the blogging world, even coining the now popular expression "netroots" -- referring to grassroots work done online -- the critiques of Israel found in the progressive blogosphere often have a constructive bent.

"I think a lot of it comes from a healthy skepticism or a healthy desire to see the conflict solved," he said.

Waldman resented what he said were attempts by Jewish Republicans to suggest that the Jews within the Democratic Party were somehow less supportive of Israel.

"That does not fly with anyone," he said. "It's insulting and stupid" to say that Jewish Democrats "would be less interested in the security of anyone, including Israel."

As for seeing Israel in person, Armstrong said he welcomed the chance. He had written about Israel only sporadically and usually during Knesset elections.

"I'm getting familiar with the situation and seeing different perspectives and talking to people firsthand," he said. "Certainly I am not going to go back with all answers," but upon returning to the United States, it will be easier "to relate to and stay in touch with" the topic more.

Protest of Carter is bipartisan

More than 50 members of Congress called on Jimmy Carter not to meet with Hamas' exiled leader.

The letter, signed by Democrats and Republicans, listed the names of 26 Americans killed by Hamas and urged the former U.S. president not to proceed with a planned meeting with Khaled Mashaal in Damascus.

"President Carter," the letter said, "do not meet with the man who ordered their deaths."

Among the signatories were 10 Jewish representatives, including Democrats Eliot Engel, Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner of New York; Robert Wexler and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida; Shelley Berkley of Nevada; Brad Sherman of California; and Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, also signed.

A separate letter to Carter urging him to cancel the meeting was sent Wednesday by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), chairman of the subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.
Speaking of the trip, take a look at just how far the shunning of Carter goes:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli government officials declined to meet Carter during his four-day stay here. He was refused permission to visit the Gaza Strip, and Shin Bet bodyguards were not even around to help his Secret Service detail.

At the heart of these slights is Carter's plan to travel to Syria to meet Hamas’ leader in exile, Khaled Meshaal -- a man blacklisted by Israel, the United States and the European Union for his orchestration of Hamas terrorism.

Carter’s itinerary has caused a stir in the United States, too, where President Bush and the three major-party presidential candidates criticized his plans to visit Meshaal.